Why wasn’t I hired?
In the game of hiring, there’s only one first prize and no consolation if you’re the runner up. Just think about the times you applied for a role you thought was perfectly suited: you ticked all the boxes, had the right skills, experience, industry background and qualifications. You carefully constructed a great cover letter showcasing why you were the perfect candidate, along with a tailored CV. You eagerly submitted your application and could practically see yourself in the role. Weeks passed by and you heard nothing. Dead silence. Then the dreaded email, advising that you were unsuccessful and a more suitable candidate had been selected blah blah blah……At this point you’ve switched off, ready to throw in the towel.
How did this happen?
- CAN you do the job? Do you have the right background, skills, qualifications and experience to perform the role?
- WILL you do the job? Are you reliable, motivated and driven to show up and achieve business outcomes?
- Are you a cultural FIT? Can they see themselves working with you? Do you have a values alignment?
It’s important to keep in mind, the employer is assessing each of these three elements at every single step of the recruitment and selection process, so you need to ensure you are consistently addressing each element.
Here’s some reasons why you might not be considered:
- Position description mismatch-
- The requisition did not accurately describe the skills required to perform the role.
- The position’s level/ seniority changed since posting- Sometimes companies don’t know exactly what they want until they start looking!
- Throughout the interview process, new desired skills are identified, but the content of the job posting has not changed to reflect this.
- The position description (PD) was too vague to accurately judge best fit.
- The PD may refer to a certain job function, which is only a tiny portion of the role and you may have focused on this element, rather than tasks more significant to the recruiter.
- You didn’t include a cover letter
There are two schools of thought regarding cover letters. Whilst some recruiters do not read them and go straight to the CV, others use the cover letter as a key differentiator and will often disregard an application simply because the candidate did not take the time to write one. Or perhaps wrote one that was not well constructed/ tailored to the position.
I know someone who was hired based on his cover letter alone. Despite not ticking every box, his cover letter was so well written, it made his application stand out.
- Screening Mistakes
You were not able to convey your suitability to the screener either in writing or over the phone, or convince them you were genuinely interested in this role for their organisation, thus persuading them you belong within the “best fit” subgroup.
Or, perhaps the screener was not properly qualified/ informed to screen suitable candidates, so eliminated “best fit” candidates.
- The Interview
- You failed to build rapport with the interviewer(s)
- You simply did not interview well/ sell your personal brand and value add effectively
- You sold yourself to the old posted PD and did not realise the scope had since changed
- You may be qualified and thus brought in, but not seen as a “best fit” candidate
- You didn’t adequately prepare for the interview, so your answers were not succinct enough, too waffly, or alternatively, not detailed enough
So, what steps can you take to improve your odds?
- I’ve written many articles on the importance of NETWORKING, so I won’t harp on about it again, but I will emphasise the importance of utilising your contacts to:
- Deliver your CV to the RIGHT people
- Research the inside story on the organisations specific needs
- Find people who will champion your cause
- Confirm your information:
- At each stage of the recruitment process, check to ensure the requirements have not changed and are in line with the job ad/ PD.
- Ask probing questions to uncover the problems and concerns this position would be responsible to solve.
- Express your genuine interest in the position.
- Ask the interviewer if they have any concerns that would prevent you from moving forward. This gives you the opportunity to negate these uncertainties.
Remember, often things happen internally in an organisation, which you as an applicant are not privy to. For example, the job is filled internally, or through a referral. There is a sudden restructure, or the role is withdrawn. This means they may not have even looked at your CV. So, don’t take it personally, it’s a numbers game and you can’t expect to hit a homerun every time. Like an atlete would train for a marathon, try to view each attempt as a practice run. If you hang in there, continue to put in the work and maintain faith, then you will eventually get there.
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As a career coach and executive search consultant with Career Mojo, Fiona Wainrit works with individuls at a range of levels to help them manage their careers and with organisations looking to attract top talent. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow: @FionaWainrit_CareerMojo1 on Twitter
As seen in The Age 23rd Jan, 2017, link to article here.